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The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Perfect for the anti-aviary (or bird fanatic with a sense of humor), this snarky illustrated handbook is equal parts profane, funny, and—let's face it—true. Featuring 50 common North American birds, such as the White-Breasted Butt Nugget and the Goddamned Canada Goose (or White-Breasted Nuthatch and Canada Goose for the layperson), Kracht identifies all the idiots in your ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Chronicle Books
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4.19  · 
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 ·  81 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Montzalee Wittmann
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary. This book is going in my favorite folder for sure! This is hilarious! I laughed out loud and giggled all the way through! The author has a wicked sense of humor, clever, witty, and the funniest art!
His bird "guide" has everything from rules to follow, tools, how to keep a journal, and his own description and art of birds.
He has his name for the birds and then the comm
It's SPRING and if you live above the equator that means that the weather should be getting warmer and the dumb birds are hopping around and making their usual incessant noise and pooping on your cars and waking you at ungodly hours. I say "should' because it is supposed to snow across most of North America this week and dumb because, hello? Who wakes up before the sun rises on purpose!?! :) Yes, I love birds. I adore them. I feed them and attract them and I really do have a backyard wildlife ha ...more
I have been bird watching for as long as I can remember. I must have five bird identification books on Birds of North American, West of the Rockies. But, even if you have all of those and more, you will want this book. This book is both snarky, and serious. Funny and fun. It gives you true facts, mixed in with bizaar thoughts.

He has also renamed birds, mentioned in here, for his humor and amusement.

The Western MeadowJerk, instead of the Western Meadow Lark. The Dork-eyed Junko, instead of Dark-e
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
Birds are everywhere— totally unavoidable. In parks, in your backyard, even stray ones drift into stores. And their prominence has led to the development of a specific kind of person: the birdwatcher. Now there’s a guide for new or expert birders interested in perfecting the favorite pastime of … sitting and watching birds.

The tone of this book is set with the title: The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America. Author Matt Kracht obviously has an interesting relationship these animals, and hi
Peter Tillman
Well, you just never know about humor. Or alleged humor. This one didn't click with me at all (to my surprise) -- though there are moments. Such as the great cover art! FWIW, my wife didn't care for it, either.

For a positive opinion, see Laura's entertaining, illustrated review:
Thanks for the reco, Laura. I was looking forward to this one.... Sorry it didn't work out!
Mar 17, 2019 added it
Shelves: netgalley
I never thought a field guide to birds would keep me laughing the whole way through, but this book has proven me wrong. This is not your book if you are expecting a comprehensive guide to all North American birds, or if you are uber serious about birding. But if you might appreciate Kracht's love/hate relationship with birds and would get a chuckle out of his sardonic obscenities and name-calling, then pick this up and have yourself a funny afternoon! I did actually learn a little bit about the ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This guide is like no other, in that it exclusively categorizes birds based on who they are deep down inside. Some are loud, some are losers, some are gray, and all of them are birdlike in appearance. For a fresh and entertaining insight into the lives and motives of birds, look to the distinguished bird watcher critic Matt Kracht.

One can assume from the title that this is a satire on typical bird guides, and it is well worth the read, not only for bird lovers (or bird haters), but for anyone l
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
birbs! soemtimes funny.
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-read
Too funny! Hilarious, quick read. Those darn birds.
Oswego Public Library District
This guide is like no other, in that it exclusively categorizes birds based on who they are deep down inside. Some are loud, some are losers, some are gray, and all of them are birdlike in appearance. For a fresh and entertaining insight into the lives and motives of birds, look to the distinguished bird watcher critic Matt Kracht.

One can assume from the title that this is a satire on typical bird guides, and it is well worth the read, not only for bird lovers (or bird haters), but for anyone l
Mary Warnement
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Lowry's Books in Sturgis, Michigan, for stocking this among your new offerings. The title caught my eye, and this humorous satire of a field guide, with its delightful drawings, provided much-needed smiles during a difficult period in my life. My family and I read it aloud to each other in the wake of saying good-bye and celebrating my father's life. Your endpapers, facsimile pages from your own bird journal, and hilarious captions made us laugh out loud. Thanks also to Chronicle Books ...more
Julie H.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have a “birder” with a sense of humor in your life, buy them this satire. It’s a humorously-illustrated, very nicely produced, total send-up of birding guides.

Whereas other guidebooks might arrange entries according to taxonomic order, habitat, or even physical traits, Kracht’s guide adopts a seven-category typology centered on each bird’s overall character flaws and thereby categorizes them as either: Typical Birds; Backyard A-holes; Hummingbirds, Weirdos, and Flycatchers; Egotists and
Altivo Overo
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: birdwatchers with a sense of humor
This will offend some birdwatching types, but I found it pretty funny. Irreverent, certainly. Disrespectful too. But still funny, and very clever. The bird drawings are fun as well, and though the alternate names for species are sometimes off-color, they can also be appropriate (e.g., "American Goldfink" for the goldfinch, or "Gray Cat Turd" for the catbird.)
January Gray
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a legit bird guide, it's just a fun and humorous way to do a guide. Fun and enjoyable. A nifty gift for the bird lover/watcher in your life.
Michael Kiripolsky
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Comical. Got a good chuckle and a "hrm" out of me
Gwenith Addington
A delightful answer to the question I always ask myself in the morning, "who is outside my window making all this annoying noise?!" Sometimes that answer is a neighbor with a leafblower, but more often the answer is one of these dumb guys. How dare they. Matt Kracht pokes fun at the sport (oh the irony of using the word sport in this review) of birdwatching/birding in a refreshing and kindhearted way. Describing birds by shape, from normal bird to murder bird, the book leads you through whatever ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend having a loved one read this aloud for everyone’s* enjoyment. It is the first, and likely last, bird guide to categorize the creatures by the “kind of bird they are deep down inside,” where western bluebirds are finally identified as losers and schmucks and song sparrows receive their first comparison to Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby.”

*Everyone who is comfortable with the occasional but always well-timed use of colorful language, however.
I recently moved into a house with a backyard that has made me decide to put up bird feeders and see what would happen...and what happened is eerily described in this humorous look at the birds we share our planet with.

Hilarious but also begrudgingly respectful of these tiny flying dinosaurs, Matt Kracht's book is sure to be the go-to for amateur bird watchers like me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.
Nathaniel Darkish
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I generally quite enjoyed this book. I felt an immediate kinship for the snarky, sarcastic tone, especially with it being directed at nature and people who love nature. That said, I felt like the humor wasn't always very consistent-- the actual bird descriptions weren't very funny and typically just said "they're loud and annoying" in slightly different phrasing for almost every bird, while the other sections of the book allowed Kracht to be more clever and funny.
James Swenson
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. [Warning: strong language.]

Even though you are unlikely to have considered the question before now, you probably already know whether or not you'd enjoy a profane bird guide. I love the idea; the title and the cover art had me laughing right away. The hand-drawn art is beautiful throughout, and the author's love for birds and birding is clear, despite his ostensibly hostile tone. After a while, though, the joke
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Consistently hilarious, wildly imaginative/unique, and well-presented (for starters), Kracht's delivering us a fantastic satirical version of your garden-variety bird guide overflowing with profanity and snarky insight.

Before you stop reading, you should know that, despite the comedic angle, this still functions as a competent bird guide: You're given further (legit) resources for how to get into bird-watching more, tips on where to sit, what to bring, how to conduct yourself, and what kinds of
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
**Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**


I quite like this book. The sarcastic humor was right up my alley and I cracked a good amount of smiles, which is always a good thing as I very much appreciate a humorous read. Personally, I know nothing about birds other than how much of a nuisance they can be. Despite how humorous this guidebook is written, it is good to note that the author does provide insightful information about bird watch
Donna Davis
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: liberals with middle school kids or guests
3.5 rounded down.

I received this review copy free and early, courtesy of Net Galley and Chronicle Books. This whimsical yet bawdy take on our feathered frenemies will be for sale on April Fool’s Day, which figures.

Kracht—whose name sounds ever so slightly like something a crow might say—illustrates each bird he discusses in a style that is not half bad, with some anger tossed in as seasoning. I have to admit I don’t entirely understand his indignation, given the state of the environment. I mys
Rachel Noel
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
*Free copy received via NetGalley for an honest review.

This book was a laugh that I've been needing. There were times when I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. And, at the same time, it's genuinely informative! Kracht does a wonderful job of letting the humor and the facts shine through and it is a winning combination. There is a lot of strong language, so it's probably not a good book to share with your kids. However, if you or someone you know seems to have a vendetta against birds, this is a gr
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
OK, I love birds and I love sarcasm and this book perfectly blended the two. It had me laughing out loud for most of it and smiling for the rest. Seriously, this is for both bird lovers and bird haters and anyone in between.

The book is a super quick read with some really snazzy illustrations that keep the pages flipping. I’m sure you could actually use this for some form of identification but it is primarily for entertainment. I will say, however, that this seriously motivated me to start keepin
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Title: Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America

Author: Matt Kracht

Genre: Nonfiction, Bird Guide, Humor,

Plot: Birds are beautiful intelligent creatures who provide us with hours of entertainment in various forms. At least, that is what die-hard bird enthusiasts want us to believe. In reality, birds are jerks and in this hilarious field guide, Matt Kracht explains why with very colorful language and pictures.

We'll meet such classics as the White-Breasted Butt Nugget and the Bland Sparrow. Each b
Jessica (Spooky KidLit & We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone)
Birds are the absolute worst, and Matt Kracht is one of the few birders brave enough to admit it. Whether you have a true affection for these feathered jerks or you hate them just as much as they hate you, this hilarious book of bitter observations and grudgingly brilliant illustrations is a satirical look at bird watching perfect for people who know deep down just how horrible birds really are.

My thanks to Chronicle Books and Edelweiss+ for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest r
Samantha Thilkey
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, nonfiction
This would be a great gift for the bird-watching readers in your life. I really hope volumes 2 and 3 are already in the works!! 😄 Seriously though. Please write another one. There are so many more terrible bird species to warn us about.
Any time you need a laugh, just open up this book to any page. I think I'll be looking through it often. 🐦🦃🦆🦅
But right now I need to get back to my kitchen window to find out exactly how many mourning doves are out there making all those ridiculous sounds. Mating
Megan Oneail
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
I was provided with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair review.

HILARIOUS! I decided to start this late at night after being unable to get to sleep, and then just worked myself up more from laughing so hard. This book was so cleverly written, with just the right mix of real facts (I assume), helpful hints, sass, and swearing. The drawings were great! I would absolutely love to see a second edition of this book (“now with more birds!”) and will def be recommending this to everyone!
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, non-fiction, arc
This book is hysterical! You don't have to be a ornithologist to love this one. I don't think I have ever read a book with the word butt in it as many times as this one. I love birds already, but I may have been convinced to take up bird watching officially.

Not one for everyone, but bird enthusiasts with a sense of humor will definitely enjoy.

Don't mind me sitting over here giggling over every page turn.
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